On observing human interactions, it seems to me that the the smart people seem to ask the most questions while those less cerebrally-endowned seem to have all the answers.

This may also perhaps explain why those with the answers seem to be perpatually disgruntled while those with the questions walk through life with a constant sense of awe and wonder.  Having all the answers must be both boring and frustrating.
As some of you may know, one of my hobbies is model building: ships, airplanes, other stuff.  Right now I am building an aircraft carrier model with some help from Lucas.   Sitting on the shelf, awaiting some attention is a “ginormous” model of the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701 (“no bloody a, b, or c”!).   I have ordered some specialty kits for lighting etc., and if I ever start, this will be a long project – and a labor of love.

As I looked at these various pale blue styrene injection-molded parts laid out before me, I began to wonder why on earth I would be relishing such a boyhood project with fifty looming much closer ahead than forty is behind.  Trying to explain the allure of this campy sixties show and its many spawned movies etc. is probably about as easy as explaining why I prefer one style of music over another – impossible; you kind of either “get it” or you don’t.  I can tell you this, I can remember countless evenings with homework etc. behind me and settling in for the late night Star Trek on WPIX 11 and feeling like a was spending a few minutes with friends before lights out.  To some of you this no doubt sounds incredibly lame, i.e., “get a life.”  I could cite statistics on how “Trek” fans tend to be intelligent, educated etc. and have gone on to become great scientists and engineers (witness Stephen Hawking, who has even appeared on TNG), but that would not prove much of anything. 

We Trek fans probably also watch NASA TV, and thrilled to the photos of the Mars rovers.   Most of us probably think that we must push into space despite all the problems on earth “because it’s there,” and because exploring is as natural a part of man’s nature as eating and drinking.   When we stop exploring, we stop living.  Others no doubt think this is nuts and that no foot should step into space while a single mouth on earth remains to be fed.  And you have a compelling argument as well.  However, perhaps more as a matter of faith or instinct, we must always explore for the sake of exploring just as “beauty is its own excuse for being.”

Perhaps the one thing about Trek though that goes beyond science, and exploration, and quirky/campy characters its message of hope and optimism.  Underlying everything Trek is the notion that we will still be around in three hundred years, and we will be a better, kinder, united, and open-minded form of human; that we will come in peace seeking life “in strange new worlds.”  Small-thinking territorial earthly disputes will be a thing of the past and a united earth will venture out compelled by the drive to explore and to learn. . . and to make friends.  Idealist and utopian?  Of course it is!  But why aspire for anything less? 

And of course we still get to kick some Romulan ass from time to time!

Learn from others and adapt, but also respect your own style and resist changes to it unless you yourself believe that the proposed change improves it.  There are many styles of writing and many do’s and don’ts.   Remember to distinguish dogma – like good grammar – from doctrine like style.  Take for example narration.  The doctrine is that all stories – particularly children’s stories must stick to one style of narration.  Sometimes, it works to take some liberties with this “rule” - for emphasis, for example.  It can sometimes work to blur the distinction between the character and the narrator.  In my latest book, the narrator comments on an annoying teenagerthat always slept late – “because that’s what teenagers do.”  In this case, the narrator is actually slipping into the voice of the main character and expressing the characters disdain.  The true omniscient narrator would not make such a biased remark.  I think it works and that reader effortlessly follows this "slippage."

My point here is stick to your guns if you like the way something unconventional in your writing works.  Don’t let some editor tell you that doctrine is dogma.  After all, it’s your name after the “by”!